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Oil Down, Ukraine and Russia Resume Talks, China Demand Fears Grow

Published 03/29/2022, 12:26 AM
Updated 03/29/2022, 12:31 AM
© Reuters.

By Gina Lee – Oil was down on Tuesday morning in Asia, continuing the previous day’s downward trend as Ukraine and Russia look to continue peace talks. Fears that a COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, China could impact fuel demand also contributed to the losses.

Brent oil futures dropped 1.13% to $108.25 by 12:25 AM ET (4:25 AM GMT) and WTI futures fell 1.12% to $104.77. Brent and WTI contracts lost around 7% on Monday.

Ukraine and Russia will resume peace talks in Turkey later in the day, the first in over two weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

"Oil prices are under pressure again on expectations for a peace talk between Ukraine and Russia, which could lead to an easing of sanctions or avoidance on Russian oil by the West," Nissan Securities general manager of research Hiroyuki Kikukawa told Reuters.

"A successful ceasefire could also raise the prospect of reviving an Iranian nuclear deal," he added.

Fuel demand in China, the world’s largest oil importer, also remains a concern as the city of Shanghai remains under a two-stage, nine-day lockdown to curb rising numbers of COVID1-9 cases.

"Selling pressure grew on concerns that China may impose more restrictions in other places to contain the pandemic and fuel demand may be reduced further," NLI Research Institute senior economist Tsuyoshi Ueno told Reuters.

"Increased market volatility has made it difficult for long-term investors to participate, as short-term investors tend to take profits or cut losses more quickly than before," he added.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) will also meet on Thursday, where it will likely stick to plans for a modest increase in oil output in May 2022, several sources close to the group told Reuters. This is despite the surging prices due to the war in Ukraine and calls from the U.S. and other consumers to increase supply.

Global demand has risen back to pre-COVID-19 levels, but the market remains tight as OPEC+ has been slow to restore supply cuts enacted at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. U.S. oil exports have climbed after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and barrels of domestic oil that would typically go to the Cushing, Oklahoma, storage hub are instead being exported via the Gulf Coast, according to traders.

Investors also await U.S. crude oil supply data from the American Petroleum Institute, due later in the day.

Latest comments

How in the world does Ukraine believe a word Russia says after destroying their country infrastructure, just leveling their homes and apartment buildings, Mariopol is a Third World city. Putin even says he doesn't consider Ukrainians worth being here, his word is "exist." Toughen the sanctions once these talks fail and before Russi goes straight into Kyiv to topple govt, in a most brutal way. Oil blood money stop NOW, Europe. Thats the only sanction that'll actually do anything to stop Putin Please 🙏
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